Aggies defensive-back Carty could go high in draft
Free Safety Johndale Carty is the most likely USU athlete to be selected during this weekend's action. He has been ranked one of the top 10 safeties in the draft and is projected as a fourth or fifth round pick. Sports Illustrated lists Carty as the fifth best safety available, but his stock dropped recently due to health concerns.
Carty fell from being a possible second round selection because of a shoulder injury in last season's game against Oregon State. The shoulder was operated on in late October and he was able to participate in the NFL scouting combine. According to scouting reports, Carty performed well, running the 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds. But his lack of one-on-one coverage skills, along with the questions concerning his injured shoulder, lowered his draft projections.
USU head coach Dave Arslanian said Carty's competitiveness, hitting ability and speed are traits that make him a good pro prospect.
"The other trait that had
been a strength of his, but has now come into question, is his physicalness
and durability," said Arslanian. "But I believe he still possesses those
qualities, and he should be successful."
According to Arslanian, the NFL teams that have contacted him are most interested in Carty and linebacker Tony D'Amato, another late round possibility. D'Amato's weakness is his height, but scouts were impressed with his football instincts and work habits.
Offensive lineman Ken Watts, cornerback Craig Miller, and wide receivers Rob Scott and London McBride are other potential USU draft prospects.
Although not ranked among the top corners by analysts, Miller is what Arslanian called a "sleeper" pick. He did not get a lot of press attention because of his lack of playing time, but turned some heads at the combine with his strength and agility.
He bench pressed the designated weight of 225 pounds 22 times, which was the highest in the nation among cornerbacks. He also had the fastest time in his position in both the short shuttle (3.84) and the pro agility drill (6.75). Miller is optimistic about his chances, yet he knows the uncertain nature of the draft.
"The draft is crazy, you can't predict it," he said. "Over the last five years, some of the guys that made the most impact [in the NFL] were late draft picks."
Watts has free-agent potential because of his size and strength. According to Arslanian, his attitude also could help take him to the next level.
The road will be rougher for Scott and McBride. There is a deep crop of receivers entering the draft, making it harder for athletes coming from schools with little media exposure. Scott has the speed to attract pro scouts, which may entice a team to take a chance on him. McBride has soft hands, but does not have the prototype speed and build that teams typically look for in a wide receiver.